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Maryland track and field's LaFond named Big Ten field Athlete of the Year

Maryland athletes and teams continue to exceed expectations in the Terps first season as a B1G member. Today's prizes go to track and field star Thea LaFond.

Feeling a bit of deja vu? Or wondering what's going on that track and field gets two featured stories in the same week? I understand because it is a bit outside the norm. But, Testudo Times is about Maryland athletics and when a Terrapins team or individual athlete has a noteworthy performance or receives a special honor, it's our duty to provide the opportunity for the Terps community to read about it revel in it.

With that said, congratulations of the highest order are appropriate for Maryland's Thea LaFond who was honored as the B1G Women's Field Athlete of the Year the conference announced Tuesday. But wait, there's more (he wrote feeling a bit like Billy Mays). LaFond was also named the Athlete of the Championships and also won the Sportsmanship Award.

Last week, LaFond earned the individual Big Ten title in the triple jump in her first Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She claimed first-team All-Big Ten honors, and becomes Maryland's first recipient of the Field Athlete of the Year and Field Athlete of the Championships.

The senior, a graduate of Kennedy High School in Silver Spring, MD, competed in three events at the B1G Championships. In addition to claiming the individual title in the triple jump, she finished third in the long jump, and tied for the eighth spot in the high jump. In all, LaFond earned 16.5 of Maryland 45 total team points.

A brief editorial

I understand that some visitors to this site would prefer the entire focus to be on every minute detail or rumor surrounding football and men's basketball and who view these stories with some annoyance. I know others view them as perhaps a mild annoyance and simply choose to scan the title an move on. And I know there is a consistent core of a few hundred readers who enjoy the breadth of the coverage on Testudo Times. So, I am, as the adage goes, likely preaching to the choir. But my sermon will be brief.

Every fan of Maryland athletics should stand and salute this accomplishment by Thea LaFond. As I noted in the previous story, two years ago Maryland track and field was days, perhaps even hours, away from being completely cut out of the Maryland athletics program. A last minute infusion of funds has maintained the program on life support. Everyone should view LaFond's singular accomplishment through that lens.

Certainly recognition is due to head coach Andrew Valmon and assistant coach for jumps Samyr Laine who, I am sure played significant roles in LaFond's success. But more so, we as fans, need to stand and cheer and acknowledge and salute the work and dedication of an obviously determined and driven athlete for reaching a pinnacle in her Terrapins career.

Dare I say that when Maryland first announced its intention to move to the Big Ten not even the most audaciously optimistic and hard core Maryland fan would have been so brazen as to predict that, at the end of the Terrapins' first year, a Maryland athlete would rise as the conference's Field Athlete of the Year.

I can merely reiterate: Every fan of Maryland athletics should stand and salute this accomplishment by Thea LaFond. I know I do.